A few years back, my Mom retired from teaching and absolutely fell in love with rescuing dogs. She joined a volunteer rescue group that works with her local shelter to assist the staff in placing their animals through adoption. If your Facebook feed is inundated with pleas for help like mine now is then you have definitely befriended an animal rescue enthusiast. But folks like my Mom are making a tremendous difference. As recently as the 1970s, it is estimated that as many as 20 million animals were euthanized each and every year here in the United States. This number is now as low as 3 million, largely due to the valuable work of these types of animal rescue groups. For many involved, getting this number to zero is their highest priority.
There is some grant funding available for local groups like my Mom’s through animal rescue grants. While the vast majority of this type of support is offered to animal shelters, some programs fortunately include funding for rescues as well. We covered grants for animal shelters before. And for rescue groups that are actually considered part of a local shelter, there may be some additional avenues for funding in that listing. But I was able to find several grants available to outside rescue groups and they are listed below. There is even one small grant available for individual rescuers not affiliated with a larger rescue program.
American Humane Association Grants
Grants are provided by the AHA through its Second Chance Fund that help rescue groups and shelters cover the costs of temporarily caring for animals being prepared for adoption. It specifically seeks to fund groups caring for abused or neglected animals. Funding is intended to be used to pay for medical treatment, rehabilitation and spay/neuter surgery for at-risk pets. Applications are accepted all year-long and each group can request up to $2,000 per year through this grant.
The ASPCA is the second largest animal welfare grant making organization in the United States. It issues over $17 million in grants each year to shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations. It offers Animal Rescue Grants to help decease the flow of animals going into shelters and increase adoption rates. Funding is available for projects such as adoption events, foster programs, animal transports, spay and neuter clinics and tagging or microchipping efforts. Grants range in size from $500 to $10,000.
Petco Foundation Grants
This pet supply retailer offers two types of grants. Disaster Relief grants are available for groups responding to natural disasters involving animals and to those that intervene in situations of hoarding and puppy mill shut downs. Sponsorship of fundraising events by animal welfare organizations is also provided.
PetSmart Charities Grants
Your rescue must have 501c3 status to apply for any of these grants, but if you do you can qualify for a huge amount of support. Every year, PetSmart puts about $27 million into animal welfare grants. Emergency Relief Grants can provide a trailer with $80,000 worth of supplies to help respond to a natural disaster involving high numbers of pets. Funding is also available on an emergency basis for seizures from hoarders and puppy mills and for animals harmed through abuse or violence. Spay/Neuter Grants provide funding for spay and neuter events and clinics. Priority is given to areas with high shelter intake, large feral cat populations and to groups working with animals with a high risk of euthanization. Rescues can also work with over 1,300 PetSmart stores to host in store adoption events.
RedRover Relief Grants
While these grants are small, they are available to rescue groups, individuals looking to help sick animals and pet owners experiencing financial hardship. Grants range in size from $100 to $200 that can be used to pay for veterinary expenses to save the life of an animal. Applications are accepted through RedRover’s website with a one or two-day response time. To apply, you must reside in the United States.
Most people do not realize how much actual costs are associated with running a rescue. While many veterinarians offer low-cost services to rescues, vaccinations, spay and neuter surgeries and animal transport costs can run quite high. And there never seems to be enough money to pay for everything needed by folks saving these animals. If you are unable to turn up any grant support to help your rescue, there are a few things you can do. First of all, get creative with your fundraising efforts. My Mom’s rescue regularly holds yard sales with donated items to raise extra money and they have started a pretty successful aluminum can drive as well. Secondly, most rescues are responding to a problem which is local in nature. Don’t be afraid to seek support locally. The truth here is that most funding is almost always found in your own local area. You might just be surprised by the amount of fundraising you may be able to accomplish if you just simply get out there and ask for it. Don’t hesitate to solicit funds from other animal lovers in your area.